Detroit Tigers: Spencer Turnbull among greatest surprises of 2019

The Detroit Tigers are in the midst of another long season as they continue their rebuild, but it appears that they have found an exciting piece for the future in starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull.

At the end of March, Spencer Turnbull made the Detroit Tigers’ starting rotation out of spring training. Turnbull, who first appeared in with the Tigers in September last season, had an excellent spring, posting a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings. He has now carried that success into the first two months of the regular season.

On Sunday afternoon, Turnbull made his 11th start of the season. Although Turnbull was outdueled by Zack Wheeler and the Tigers fell to the New York Mets by a score 4-3, it was yet another solid outing by Turnbull.

In total, Turnbull went seven innings and struck out eight. Three of the four earned runs he gave up came via a three-run homer to Adeiny Hechavarria, so it was really just one pitch and one at-bat that changed the outlook of the game. Moreover, it marked the first time he had allowed more than three earned runs in any start this year.

On the season, Turnbull is now  2-4 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. He is also averaging over a strikeout per inning with a 9.2 K/9.

Going forward, Turnbull looks like he may be poised to become a vital part of the Tigers’ rotation. The Tigers’ starting staff is currently led by ace Matthew Boyd, and while his name could very well appear in trade rumors once again this summer, it is important to remember that the team still has Michael Fulmer, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and 2018 first overall draft pick Casey Mize on the way. With Turnbull also in the mix, the Tigers’ starting rotation could be quite good in the very near future.

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While the Detroit Tigers haven’t had too much to cheer about in 2019, there have if fact been a few bright spots. Closer Shane Greene has bounced back to record 16 saves in his first 17 opportunities, and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera is once again swinging the bat well, despite his current lack of power. It is arguable, however, that Turnbull has been the biggest surprise for the Tigers so far this season.